BLOODFIRE 45: EMPIRE OF DUST

Happy new year! Hope it’s been good, or at least relatively free of plague. This last Saturday we had a (masked + vaxxed) Learn to Play Kings of War day at the very new gaming center in town, and had great turnout with quite a few people interested in the game and in minigaming in general. Plus a few members of our club came out who haven’t been spotted in the wild in years, which also bodes well for the future of KOW in our area. Exciting times ahead, pandemic-willing!

After the first couple rounds of intro games, there was a free table so I challenged a clubmate to a fast little game of Kings:

Salamanders 1000
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Heal (3)
Herald – The Boomstick

I have some regrets about not taking Scorched Earth instead of Heal and giving the Herald the Shroud instead, but not a lot else to say. In theory, LB(3) should be great for clearing chaff and adding to the general firepower of the list. In practice though …

Empire of Dust 1000
Skeleton Spearmen Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Mummies Regiment
Mummies Regiment
Bone Giant
Sebekh-Rei the Accursed – Heal (5+), Surge (5+)
Revenant Champion – Surge (5)

Chaff? What chaff? Solid EOD package, although he really wasn’t feeling Sebekh-Rei (agreed!). Rev Champ is a real workhorse however, giving them surge option is so good for the army.

We chose to play Dominate, since all the intro tables were running either Invade or Dominate and we had just helped run an Invade game. Bloodfire scouted, won the roll for first, then gave it away.

BATTLE

Salamanders 0: Ember Sprites scoot up the field to get ready to spit and to tempt him to engage.
Empire of Dust 1: The dry undead shamble forward, maintaining their frontage on the left and surging a couple inches forward on the right.
Salamanders 1: Ember Sprites advance and angle a bit, as Fire Elementals hover behind them and prepare to counter (the left horde has been surged up to close its frontage off from the Bone Giant, forgetting that it could probably walk up and surge into their flank). Ember Sprites spit at the Bone Giant, doing 3 damage. The Boomstick Herald tries the same and fails.
Empire of Dust 2: Mummies descend upon the Ember Sprites! The left regiment is driven off but the right holds on 5 damage (given how few attaks Mummies have on 4+, holding was a distinct possibility). The Skeleton Spearmen continue their inexorable flank, the Bone Giant plays it cool while Sebekh-Rei fails a 5-6 dice heal on the big guy 😐
Salamanders 2: As planned, the Sprites have left at least one of the Mummies with their flank open, which a Fire Elemental horde cheerily plows into, with Greater Fire in the front. The other Fire Elementals head off to slowly burn down the Bone Giant. The surviving Sprites had to disengage and sidestep to make space for the Fire Elemental charge, but have been surged back into the Mummies at this point. Finally, the Herald tried to lightning bolt Sebekh-Rei but failed.
The left Mummies are incinerated, the right Mummies take 2! damage from enraged Ember Sprites, and the Bone Giant takes an anemic 4 damage from his Fire Elementals (up to 7). Yikes.
Empire of Dust 3: Gentle readers, we’ve entered the grind. The Mummies regen their 2 damage then corkscrew the looming Fire Elementals. The Bone Giant counters his Fire Elementals, rolls max attaks and pummels 8 damage into them. Double yikes. Between heal and lifeleech he returns to 3 damage. Meanwhile, the Skeleton Spears flank and skewer the poor little Ember Sprites.
Salamanders 3: At this point, it’s pretty obvious that the Bone Giant fight isn’t going to go my way, and the Skeleton Spears are going to be a problem very soon, as well as a scenario winner in themselves. My only option is to punch harder!

Smoldering Fire Elemetals head back into the Bone Giant, again doing a terrible 4 damage (7 is average) and getting him back to 7. Central Fire Elementals counter the Mummies, but not before the Greater Fire steps into surge position, hence the strange alignment (the big girl couldn’t combo-charge with them, due to not having Nimble. Also I just realized she could have toasted Sebekh-Rei out of spite before surging in!) While they do damage, it isn’t enough to rout the Mummies in one go. Also the Herald tries and fails to lightning Sebekh-Rei.

Empire of Dust 4: The Bone Giant stamps out his Fire Elementals, the Skeleton Spears stab the other Fire Elemental horde up to 10 damage, and the Mummies bap 5 damage onto the Greater Fire. Everybody lifeleeches, regens or heals as is their wont. Looking like Bloodfire’s best option is to punch. even. harder.
Salamanders 4: One of my favorite things about playing Sallies is the late game shooting that happens when Mage-Priests are called upon to rain elite fireball (10) down on fools. To whit, the Mage-Priest roasts the Bone Giant back up to 7 damage (the Herald probably tried to help too but I’m not giving her any credit), but the rerolled 9 rout test doesn’t come through. In combat, the Greater Fire Elemental burns up the Mummies and faces the rampaging Bone Giant, while the Fire Elemental horde continues to be terrible, dishing out 6 damage to the Skeleton Spears (of 9 expected). RIP, fire boys.
Empire of Dust 5: The Bone Giant powers into the Greater Fire Elemental, in the kaiju big battle I know I was waiting for (the Rev Champ gets in on the action as well while Sebekh-Rei lets them fight). The duo chunks her up to 12 damage. The Skeleton Spear horde meanwhile dissipates the Fire Elementals. A bunch of healing happens.
Salamanders 5: Hear me out – if the Greater Fire can wreck the Bone Giant and hold against the Spears, I might actually pull this out … The Greater Fire gets the Bone Giant to 11 damage but can’t land the double 6 rout (4 on the first roll, actually). The Mage-Priest and Herald try to dunk the Skeleton Spears but roll very poorly, taking them up to 7 damage.
Empire of Dust 6: The Greater Fire Elemental is torn down by the combined aggression of the Empire, to simmer until she may once again scorch the mortal plane.
Salamanders 6: I’ve got just one plan left – pop the horde with the Mage-Priest and tip the Bone Giant over with the Herald. While the Mage-Priest slams the horde up to 13 damage and the Herald actually manages 1 damage on the giant, neither of the rout tests come through for me. With no Turn 7 (which would see both Bloodfire casters surge-charged anyway), that’s a resounding …

EMPIRE OF DUST VICTORY

In a game that revolved almost entirely around rolling 4+s to hit, the Bone Giant far outperformed, reminding me of my 2E games where Bone Giants were easily the best thing in the EOD list and caused me endless pain. On the flipside, my Fire Elementals were aggressively poor this game, and the Herald’s Boomstick was laughably bad, with I believe 1 damage dealt all game. Being 1000 points makes these sort of dice skews stand out all the more, I suppose.

All told a fun romp, thanks for reading! Hope to get some more games in, likely at 2100 points as my club is running its own GT at the end of February and we’re all chomping at the bit. Stay tuned.

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